Ironing Nellie’s Hanky
One hanky, edged with tatting,
lies on the ironing board.
Tatting, not tat or tatty, but
lace, lovingly crafted by Nellie.
The hankies I bought for her,
instructed ‘plain, nothing fancy,’
bought from ‘Hanky Man’- there each
week, at Monday market.
In Nellie’s hands, they morphed
into gifts fit for a queen or princess.
She sent them too – to both. And received
letters of thanks, on their behalf.
Tissues couldn’t tell such a tale.
This hanky, now ironed, lives on.
Nellie, doesn’t. Eighty odd years
behind her, over sixty years of
climbing the lane to her house
that was home for generations –
in her weaver’s cottage she spent
many an evening by the window
as long as the light held – because
daylight was always best.
Hands, slower, stiffer then,
but still nimble enough for lace
tatting. Not tat or tatty, but delicate,
full of memories, knotted into each
hanky. This one, lies here now,
neatly pressed on my ironing board.
The Hanky Man too has gone
from the market stall.
Hankies – soon to be a part of
history, gazed at in museum cases
mostly cotton, checked or coloured,
and those edged with lace.
Tatting, not tat or tatty.
Copyright © Anne Dunford 2013
In addition to Open Mouse, poems have appeared in a variety of publications such as Southlight, Markings, Fankle and editions of Indigo Dream Dawntreader & Heart Shoots.Two short plays directed by Jacquie Crago have been performed at The Swallow Theatre. Currently working on compiling a collection of poems and writing a longer play while wishing the days were twice as long!